Alfredo Bidopia: Palmetto Bay 2021


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-18.png
Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

Hi there! My name is Alfredo Bidopia and I am a junior studying Marketing with a certificate in Import and Export at Florida International University. I was born in Cuba, raised in Panama, and I have lived in the United States for five years. Something curious is that the three countries that I mentioned share the same colors on their flag. In my spare time, I like to paint, ride bicycle, and play guitar. I also love traveling and discovering new places. That is what motivated me to select the “Finding Miami” class. I hope that after taking this class I can see Miami from a wider perspective, and I can learn more about its history.


Photo retrieved from Google Maps

Palmetto Bay is a suburban village located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This city extends from southwest 136th St to south west 184th St and expands east to Biscayne Bay and west to South Dixie Highway. According to the website, Palmetto Bay has an area of 8.73 square miles and an altitude of 39 ft. The climate of this city is tropical savanna. Using the US-1 route it takes 15 miles of traveling in a car to get from Palmetto Bay to the city of Miami. This area is home to an extensive park system, and it offers excellent public schools.


Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

Palmetto Bay is a village full of history that goes back 10,000 years. According to the website, this land was inhabited during different periods by Paleo-Indians, Tequestas, Seminoles, Afro Bahamians, and Anglo-Americans. There is evidence of the evolution in housing from these different cultures along the Miami Rock Ridge. At the Old Cutler Fossil Site in 1985, archeologists found human skeletal, and animal remains that dated back to the time Tequetas and other tribes inhabited the area. This site remains one of the most important archeological excavations in the eastern United States. Before this discovery was made, people thought that human habitation in Florida dated back only 4,000 years. The pieces excavated can be found now in the Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Florida Museum of Natural History. The Tequestas vanished from South Florida at the end of the 1700s. They were hunters and fishermen, named by Ponce de Leon in his visit in 1513. In 1784 Spain regain its possession of Florida ending the American Revolutionary War. Then in 1821, the United States acquired Florida from Spain for $5 million. Later in the 1830s, the Seminole Indian Wars started because of the Indian removal policies President Andrew Jackson had imposed. In 1838, Dr. Henry Perrine was awarded by the government a big portion of land in South Dade. The dream of Dr. Henry Perrine was to create an agricultural colony based on subtropical plants. That is why he choose the ridge overlooking Biscayne Bay as he considered that was the best part of the land. Years after the death of Mr. Perrine, a dispute started over the land between his heirs and squatters. It wasn’t until 1897 that the dispute was resolved. Francis and John H. Earhart were two settlers that established a farming community called “Franjo”. The road that led to this community was called Franjo road and it still exists. Dr. William Cutler arrived in 1883 acquiring 600 acres of land. The Cutler town grew fast, capturing the attention of Henry Flagler. Flagler intended to bring his railroad to Miami going from South Dade to Key West. The route he was planning was supposed to go through the town of Cutler which would have cost a hindrance for the steady development of the town. Years later Charles Deering bought inactive land from Cutler to build his residency. He built a mansion in the ridge overseeing Biscayne Bay, what is known today as Deering Estate. This place protects its grounds because of its environment and historical importance. Inside the Estate the Richmond Inn is the only one remaining construction of the town of Cutler. This place remains as one excellent example of Florida frame-vernacular architecture and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It wasn’t until September 10, 2002, that Palmetto Bay became the 33rd municipality of Miami Dade.


According to the United States Census Bureau, Palmetto Bay holds from July 1, 2019, a population of 24,523 people. However, the estimated base population from April 1, 2010, is 23,413 individuals. The white alone, not Hispanic, or Latino population in this place has a 42.1% and the largest population comes from Hispanics or Latinos with 46.6%. Asian alone possess 4.8% and the population for Black or African American alone is 3.7%. From 2015 to 2019 the population of Veterans was 761 individuals and foreign-born people are part of 31.9%. An interesting fact about the housing in this area is that the owner-occupied housing units from 2015 to 2019 cover 80.7% and the median value of owner-occupied housing units is $562,300. The median gross rent in this area from 2015 to 2019 was $1,426. In the Palmetto Bay area, the total amount of households is 7,459 and the average amount of people per household is 3.26. An incredible 50.1% of individuals in this area speak other languages at home aside from only English. In the education sector, there is a 94.8% graduation rate either from high school or higher level of learning of people age 25 years or older, but only 58.5% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income from Palmetto Bay is $123,477 and there is only a 5.7% percent of poverty. Other than numbers, I was able to learn a little more about Palmetto Bay thanks to my fellow classmate and friend Carlos Poblete. He was originally born in Kendall, but a few years ago he moved to Palmetto Bay. He tells me that one of his favorite places is Coral Reef Park, there are tennis courts, open fields, and a path people can walk the entire park. He also told me it is a nice place to live because he feels safe and comfortable while he rides his bike every weekend. There is a good amount of population but, he tells me it is not as overwhelming as living in Kendall or Downtown. I asked him if he was planning on moving away because he lives with his parents and he said that so far, he likes it, but when the time comes, he doesn’t know how smart it might be renting something in the area because of the expensive prices.


Perrine Community House

Photo retrieved from Google Maps

One important landmark in Palmetto Bay is the Perrine Community House. According to the website Miami’s Community News the house was built in 1935 and it served as the municipal headquarters of Palmetto Bay. It was also used frequently for meetings of Chamber South and other organizations. This place was recently renovated, new floors were installed, the walls were fixed and repainted to achieve a better place for a series of events that are being planned. Currently, the house works as an exhibition center that features local artists. There is an exhibition every 3rd Saturday of the month. According to the article Perrine Community House on August 17th Alexander Porto will be having a display at this place of his latest work.

Thalatta Estate Park

Thalatta-beauty (2)
Photo retrieved from Village of Palmetto Bay website

Another important place in the community of Palmetto Bay is the Thalatta Estate Park. This amazing place offers incredible views of the immaculate waters of Biscayne Bay. According to the article Thalatta Estate Park, the vintage residence was built by the Connett family. The architectural style the house offers is Mediterranean-Revival similar to Deering Estate which is up north. Attributes that contribute to the significance of the house are symmetrical facades, doorways emphasized with pilasters, decorative Cuban tiles, and many more things. In an effort to preserve this incredible landmark, it was acquired by Palmetto Bay in 2005. This happened because of the fear a private developer wanted to demolish the house to make a mansion on the bay.

Deering Estate

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

Deering Estate is a place full of history that is also dedicated to protecting natural ecosystems and wildlife. According to the website, this place has one of the most diverse natural resources in Miami-Dade County. It has 8 ecosystems, 120 acres of pine Rocklands, and one of the richest sources of the earth’s biodiversity. Thanks to Deering Estate’s protected zones, ecosystems and wildlife can be studied by specialists. There are important plants that live on this site like, ferns, orchids, and more than 40 types of trees. This place is also home to gray foxes, snakes, birds, squirrels, and butterflies. Deering Estate is part of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge and it stretches from the Everglades following the coast to New York. Portions of this ridge work as a barrier between the interior basin of the southern Florida peninsula and Biscayne Bay. This is an incredible place that represents the history of Miami and the beauty of its environment.


Coral Reef Park

Coral Reef Park - Bridge Over Water
Photo retrieved from Village of Palmetto Bay website

Palmetto Bay is full of incredible parks. One of them is Coral Reef Park because of the 50 acres of open green spaces it offers. In this park, we can also find pinelands reserved areas and a streaming canal. This park is excellent almost for everybody because it is home for people that like walking, relaxing, playing sports, reading, and many more things. We can also find a diversity of wildlife, including indigenous birds.

Ludovici Park

Ludovici Park Aerial
Photo retrieved from Village of Palmetto Bay website

What makes Ludovici Park so great is the versatility of enjoying reading a book and being an awesome venue for musical performances. Inside the park, we can also find the Palmetto Bay Branch Library which is composed of 5,0000 square feet. This place also works great for hosting small parties thanks to its incredible spaces and venues.

Palmetto Bay Park

Photo retrieved from Village of Palmetto Bay website

The Palmetto Bay Park offers a variety of basketball courts, a softball complex, and more. This park is meant to be a multi-recreational facility. An interesting fact about this place is that it transitioned from 5 acres to 25 acres. It can be found east of the Village Municipal Complex. Previously it was known as the Perrine Park, but it was renamed Palmetto Bay Park back in 2006.


In the area of Palmetto Bay, most people have their own car, this is something common in the County because of the long distances and the lack of development in public transportation. According to the website DATA USA, 77.1% of individuals drive alone, 12.3% are carpooled, and the other 6.71% work at home. The other type of transportation that follows this list is public transportation. In general, public transportation in Miami-Dade County is not the best. That is why the percentage of people driving is so high. The least used way of transportation in this area are taxis. I suppose this occurs because of the high rates taxis can charge. In Palmetto Bay the average commute time is 34.7 minutes. This means that the average Palmetto Bay employee has a longer commute time than a normal United States worker. Plus, 3.51% of the works of this area have super commutes that exceed 90 minutes. Most of the households in Palmetto Bay have 2 or 3 cars.


Alaine’s Osteria

Photo retrieved from Google Maps

The first time I saw this Italian restaurant was on my way to Deering Estate. Usually, when I am looking for a new place to eat, I tend to do a little research first to see if it is worth eating in that place. Well, when I got home from Deering Estate, I did my research on this restaurant and I was amazed by the incredible reviews it has. The restaurant is represented by chef Gustavo Rivera. He spent five years working with Marriott International earning different promotions like supervisor manager, assistant sous chef, and sous chef. The restaurant is acclaimed for the proximity it has to real Italian food.

Babe’s Meat & Counter

r/eatsandwiches - Cuban sandwich at Babe's Meat & Counter in Miami
Photo retrieved from Reddit by Nicolas A. Jimenez

Babe’s Meat & Counter is a few blocks away from Coral Reef Park. This restaurant is relatively new because it was founded in 2018. Melanie and Jason Schoendorfer started as local farmer market. They worked hard enough to open their brick-and-mortar location. They have an incredible variety of sandwiches either for breakfast or lunch. This place has great reviews saying how good the food is and how big the portions are.

Pig Floyd’s BBQ

Photo retrieved from Tasty Chomps by Ricky Ly

Also, near Deering Estate we can find this place, or should I say pop-up BBQ bus. As the name says it Pig Floyd’s BBQ is a restaurant that serves the old way of doing BBQ. In their website, they claim their style of cooking, the old way, can’t be matched or compared with any other method or technology. They also claim to have the best Brisket, Pulled Pork, Wings, and Roasted pig you can eat on Earth. They state to only use the best smoking woods available



FBO Software | GMSTEK, LLC | United States
Photo retrieved from the website of GMSTEK

GMSTEK is a company composed of a group of talented engineers that have come up with innovative technology in the world of business and aviation. They offer smart solutions thanks to their experience and capabilities. According to one of their products is the X-1FBO Ecosystem which is a management and payment processing system. They wanted to create a platform that is simple to use and learn. They also offer a tool called Payment Processing Development. This includes updated authorization to find new ways in making your customers accept payments.

Bison Tattoos & Piercings

Bison Tattoos and Piercings | Tattoo Shop Reviews
Photo retrieved from the website Tattoo Shop Reviews

This tattoos & piercings shop has been offering its services since 1990. I think it is awesome they have been open for such a long time and that they are able to represent the artistic side of Palmetto Bay. They offer different styles of tattooing like bold color, fine line, and black n grey. This tattoo shop also offers military, birthday, and many more discounts. Apart from tattooing they also do piercings. This shop can be found near Palmetto Bay Park.

Hero Martial Arts

Kids participating in martial arts classes in Palmetto Bay - Cutler Bay - Miami
Photo retrieved from the website of Hero Martial Arts

Hero Martial Arts was founded by Master Luis Cocco and his wife in 2008. This offers Taekwondo programs for kids, teens, and adults. Master Cocco has been teaching Traditional Taekwondo and Olympic Taekwondo in Miami for 25 years. For over a decade, Master Cocco was a Head Instructor at Lee’s Taekwondo. Classes are taught by highly skilled instructors. Master Cocco is a United States Taekwondo level 2 coach, and he has led students to National Championships.


Miami-Dade County offers a great selection of neighborhoods, without a doubt Palmetto Bay is one of them. In this city, we can find a great history that represents how the city was made. We also have historical places like Deering Estate that contribute to continuing helping ecosystems and wildlife. One downside from this area is the public transportation and how much individuals must commute to get to a place. However, I think Palmetto Bay makes up for it with its green places that are spacious and have multi-recreational purposes for everybody. The food is also good in this neighborhood, but I would say it is lacking more unique restaurants that are not franchises. There is also a big diversity in businesses and most of them have been in the area for a while now. In conclusion, I think Palmetto Bay is a great area to live in and I think it is worth visiting mostly for its landmarks and green spaces.


“Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade, Florida, United States – City, Town and Village of the World.” DB,–Florida–Miami-Dade–Palmetto-Bay.

“History of Palmetto Bay: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Palmetto Bay Village, Florida.

Gary Alan Ruse, et al. “Remodeled Perrine Community Center Reopens with Art Event.” Miami’s Community News, 1 July 2019,

“Perrine Community House: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

“Thalatta Estate Park: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

“Conservation.” Deering Estate, 3 June 2020,

“Coral Reef Park: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

“Ludovici Park: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

“Palmetto Bay Park: Palmetto Bay, FL.” Village of Palmetto Bay Florida,

“Palmetto Bay, FL.” Data USA,,

“Babe’s Meat & Counter.” Babes Meat Counter,

“Pig Floyd’s BBQ.” Pigfloydbbq,

“FBO Software: GMSTEK, LLC: United States.” GMSTEK,


Hero Martial Arts. “Be Strong & Confident Learn Martial Arts.” Hero Martial Arts,

Alfredo Bidopia: Miami Service Project 2021

Chicken Key

Photo by Lauren Farina/ CC by 4.0


Hi there! My name is Alfredo Bidopia and I am a junior studying Marketing with a certificate in Import and Export at Florida International University. I was born in Cuba, raised in Panama, and I have lived in the United States for five years. Something curious is that the three countries that I mentioned share the same colors on their flag. In my spare time, I like to paint, ride bicycle, and play guitar. I also love traveling and discovering new places. That is what motivated me to select the “Finding Miami” class. I hope that after taking this class I can see Miami from a wider perspective, and I can learn more about its history.


As honors students at FIU, we are required to do a certain amount of community hours. With the arrival of Covid-19, this became for me not a requirement but a necessity to go out and reclaim my life back from this virus. This activity wasn’t possible without the help of Deering Estate, our amazing TA Annette Cruz, and the mastermind of the project, John Bailly. John Bailly is an artist and a professor at Florida International University focused on teaching about the great things the city of Miami offers, other than the typical stuff residents may know. The purpose of the activity was simple, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. The class had to go in canoes from Deering Estate to Chicken Key which is almost a mile away. There we had to pick as much trash as we could, put it back in the canoes, and go back to Deering Estate. 


This opportunity doesn’t relate to my major, but it is always important to be mindful of our environment and how we take care of it. Having the chance of going to Chicken Key made me realize how the stuff we wouldn’t think of ends up on the island. Our class found a lot of trash, but I can’t imagine all the trash professor Bailly saw taking a class there for the first time. I remember finding a toilet seat in the mangroves that surround the island. If it wasn’t for the continuous help of Deering Estate and professor Bailly the island would be in much worst condition. I am glad I had this opportunity because it opened my eyes and it made me want to contribute more to my community. Now I can say that doing this type of activity is an interest of mine.


Since the beginning of the semester, this opportunity has been part of the class schedule. Nevertheless, the day we were supposed to go to the island was postponed because of bad weather. This made me think that the class had lost this opportunity. However, professor Bailly was able to accommodate the class to a different date. This worked great for me because it was a win-win situation. I got to experiment traveling in a canoe for the first time and at the same time, I was able to help clean Chicken Key. I have learned and done amazing things with this class, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.


Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0
Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0
Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

The night of April 16, 2021, I started to get ready for the journey watching YouTube videos learning how to paddle with a partner. This was going to be my first time traveling in a canoe and I was very excited. I and some students came to a little early and professor Bailly showed us some small sharks that were swimming near the boat entrance of Deering Estate. At 10 am on April 17, 2021, the class was ready to sail in our adventure. Before setting our path to Chicken Key, professor Bailly took the class inside a canal full of mangroves. Turning inside that canal with a canoe was another experience by itself. On our way to Chicken Key, I comprehended how close the island felt from land but how far it felt when traveling there. The water was calm, and the day was beautiful, making the ocean look like a crystal. Before going to the water, I couldn’t stop thinking about the animals I might encounter while going to the island. However, for some reason I wasn’t afraid, I was just living the moment and thinking what a cool experience this was. When we arrived, the island was surrounded by mangroves, but our professor knew exactly where to take us. Entering the island, professor Bailly explained to the class what the purpose of our mission was and what we had to do. Something interesting is that the island was restored between 1996 and 1997, according to the website, “The County restored Chicken Key, removing dredged materials, connecting the mangrove forest and dune syste

m, and re-creating the island’s original topography”. Walking around Chicken Key I was able to find some small pieces of plastic. As the professor said, it was important to pick up small pieces of trash too because of a story he told us about a whale that had died from a small piece of plastic. As I walked with my classmates, I kept collecting small pieces of plastic and other dangerous types of materials for the environment. Nonetheless, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the island looked cleaner than I thought. We stopped walking when we saw a small jungle of mangroves in the middle of the island. That’s when we decided to go back to the main point and take a break swimming in the waters of Biscayne Bay. After the break, some students and I decided to go back South of the island and cross the mangroves to see if we could find more trash. After passing the mangroves, I couldn’t believe what I saw. That side of the island was full of trash. We found bottles, shoes, sandals, a toilet seat, and many more things harming the ecosystem that shouldn’t be there. Just from that side of the island, we filled around 7 bags of trash. On our way back to Deering Estate, professor Bailly took the group in a different direction to appreciate the island and enjoyed it while we rested floating for a little bit. Going back to our starting point we noticed that the wind was not in our favor, making us paddle slower, plus we had the canoes filled with trash. When we arrived at Deering Estate, the rangers helped us take the canoes out of the water and we helped them throw away the trash we had collected.



Using a canoe for the first time to pick up trash harming the ecosystem of an island is something I didn’t think of doing before. Chicken Key was an experience I will never forget. Going to this place opened my eyes and made me see how bad we are taking care of our environment. Chicken Key represents to me the type of place we don’t think it’s there because we are so busy with our lives. We tend to forget about our surroundings and once we see the reality, it becomes impossible to ignore. This is an experience more people should live, to truly understand not only Miami but the reality of our environment. 


“Hiking Trails & Natural Resources.” Deering Estate,

Alfredo Bidopia: Miami as Text 2021

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

Hi there! My name is Alfredo Bidopia and I am a junior studying Marketing with a certificate in Import and Export at Florida International University. I was born in Cuba, raised in Panama, and I have lived in the United States for five years. Something curious is that the three countries that I mentioned share the same colors on their flag. In my spare time I like to paint, ride bicycle, and play guitar. I also love traveling and discovering new places. That is what motivated me to select the “Finding Miami” class. I hope that after taking this class I can see Miami with a wider perspective and I can learn more about its history.

Downtown as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“Tequesta County”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at Downtown Miami, 22 January 2021.

For the five years I have been living in the United States I don’t think I have ever thought about the history of Miami. This realization came to my mind when professor Bailly showed us the interesting and mysterious downtown this city offers. We started our journey at the Government Center and finished it at the Freedom Tower. However, in the middle of these two destinations we stopped at the Dade County Courthouse to appreciate the origin of the name of our county. To my surprise “Miami-Dade County” originates from the name of the Major Francis Langhorne Dade. This Major was sent to Florida to fight the Seminoles and force them to relocate to the west. History is not black or white, it is gray and that is why I understand that if situations like this never happened maybe we wouldn’t be here today. However, that doesn’t mean I agree that our city should be called after a Major that came to fight the already suffering tribe of Seminoles. Instead, we could use a different name that represents more the city and its origins. For example, “Tequesta County”. I think this could be a great name for our county because it demonstrates that we respect our past and the people that was here before us.

My thoughts about the name of our county became stronger when we visited the Miami Circle. At first glance I thought this was just a normal dog park, but when professor Bailly started explaining that in that circle there used to be a Tequesta structure I was shocked. It is a disrespect to the origins of our city and to the extinct Tequesta tribe. I don’t blame the people that was there because they were probably misinform like I was. But I don’t understand how the city can allow something like this. In my opinion, schools should focus more on teaching about Miami history and perhaps by doing this we can show the respect the Tequesta deserve.

Everglades as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“Miami’s Hidden Paradise”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at Everglades National Park, 05 February 2021.

Fifty minutes away from my house I found myself in a place like no other. I remember thinking, “This doesn’t look like South Florida”. The reality was that for the first time I was witnessing the real South Florida.

The idea of just going to the Everglades would have sound boring and crazy to me around seven months ago. Covid-19 has impacted us in many different ways, but the aspect that shocked me the most from this pandemic was not been able to go to my usual places. This provoked a new flame in me to discover new places and connect more with nature.

Our adventure at the Everglades started when Ranger Dylan arrived and explained to the class how we were going to proceed in the slough and some past experiences she had. She even told us about another Ranger that almost stepped on top of a venomous snake. Let’s just say that snakes are not my favorite animals. When we finally parked the cars on side of the road to enter the jungle of the cypress trees, I didn’t know what to expect. I was afraid, but at the same time, I was excited because this was my first time visiting the Everglades.

As we entered the cold waters of the slough, I only thought about the possibilities of having alligators or snakes near me. It was when I allowed myself to be one with the present that I got to enjoy the real experience. Ranger Dylan was incredible, she guided us through the slough and shared with us important information regarding biodiversity. Suddenly she took a book out of her backpack and read the class a poem in the middle of the cypress forest. At that moment I felt connected for the first time with nature. It was something unexpected, but necessary.

As Ranger Dylan suggested I decided to separate from the group and explore the area by myself. The air running between the trees and the water moving between my legs brought me inspiration. I was inspired to create, to conserve, to show this paradise to others. I couldn’t understand how a place like this could bring such types of emotions. It was at that moment that I felt I was truly getting to know my home.

South Beach as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“South Beach Reality”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at South Beach, 19 February 2021.

Like many other places around the world, Miami Beach has some good and bad sides to its history. Usually, people tend to only know the good aspects because that’s what the city tries to highlight. When Carl G. Fisher arrived at South Beach, he saw the potential of what this place could become. With the growth of the city, mangroves were removed. Ironically, what we know today as Fisher Island used to be the place African-Americans were allowed to attend the beach. Segregation was not only suffered by African-Americans. Jews were only allowed to live south of the fifth street. Carl G. Fisher bought the island from Dana A. Dorsey, one of the first African-American millionaires in Florida. Ironically, Fisher Island is one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States. Another interesting fact about this island is that it used to be connected to South Beach. The separation came with the government cut to allow better access to the port of Miami.

One of the most attractive features of South Beach is its diversity in architecture. We can find buildings with completely different styles, but the most common ones are Mimo and Art Deco. What characterizes Mimo buildings are the roundness of their shapes, open courts, and contrasting textures. On the other side, Art Deco is more focused on creating lines and symmetric separations between the buildings. These lines make eyes go crazy. Almost every building has three floors and three main sections marked with lines that separate the aesthetic of the construction. These types of buildings also include lines that stick out, providing shadow for pedestrians or in some cases their only purpose is to follow the aesthetics with lines. South Miami has become one of the favorite places for tourists to see the Art Deco design because of how well buildings are preserved.

The good and the bad will always be present in the history of Miami. It is our choice to decide which of the three sides of history we will remember. The good, the bad, or both.

Deering Estate as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“The Shadow of Vizcaya”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at Deering Estate, 5 March 2021.

From the moment I entered the gates at Deering Estate, I asked myself why I hadn’t been here before. The best way I can describe Deering Estate is like traveling  to the past and seeing how Miami used to look before.

At Deering Estate, we can find 8 types of ecosystems and more than 100 acres of pine rocklands. Within the Deering Estate’s protected areas, there is evidence that the Tequesta occupied this zone by finding different types of their tools including shells and pottery. We can even find a burial mound.

Another significant aspect about this place is its historical structures. We have the Richmond Cottage, a hotel that was famous because visitors came to do business related to Flagler’s railroad. This is one of the oldest wooden structures in Miami Dade County. This place was later bought by Charles Deering. To the property, Charles decided to add the Stone House. This house was inspired by another property Charles owned in Spain. An additional interesting fact is that inside the Stone House we can find a secret wine cellar.

At Deering Estate, we can also find the Miami Rock Ridge. According to the website “The sedimentary ridge was formed more than 120,000 years ago, has elevations up to 25 feet above sea level, and serves as a topographical barrier between Biscayne Bay and the interior basin of the southern Florida peninsula”. What amazes me the most is how I didn’t know about this place before. It makes me wonder how places like this one don’t get the attention they deserve.

From different ecosystems to a house that used to function as a hotel for travelers, to Charles Deering and the incredible Stone House. This is all included in one place. I think Miami has great historic places that represent the origins of the city, but the same city is doing a bad job representing and showing these places that would only make their people feel more represented and prouder of their land.

Vizcaya as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“Vizcaya Museum, Gardens, and More”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, 19 March 2021.

Going from Deering Estate to Vizcaya was the best possible way for me to understand this place. By doing this we can comprehend the different types of personalities Charles Deering and James Deering had. The construction of Vizcaya began in 1914. Two years after, James Deering moved to the property. The first thing I noticed when I entered the house in Vizcaya was a sculpture of Dionysus. I understood from this that James Deering was trying to tell his visitors this was the type of life he lived, he bathed with wine. Going to the middle of the house we can appreciate this space used to be open, representing a Spanish and Italian type of architecture. Throughout the house, there was a recurring theme, caravels. Instantly I associated the ships to Cristobal Colon. In my opinion, James Deering wanted to demonstrate how he came to conquer or make this place his own. He definitely made the house different, combining distinctive styles that to some might look weird or out of place, but I think they represent what Miami is today. A mix of everything. As we head out of the house, we enter the famous gardens of Vizcaya. According to the website The Cultural Landscape Foundation, “The ten-acre gardens at this private estate were designed for James Deering by Colombian-born landscape architect Diego Suarez, who worked on the project between 1914 and 1917. Suarez, who had studied at Villa la Pietra outside Florence, Italy, adapted classical European Renaissance and Baroque landscape design to Miami’s subtropical climate and terrain, using native soil and plant materials in an aesthetic arrangement that evokes sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italian and French gardens”. In the gardens there is a sense of symmetry and organization, to give the impression that nature can be controlled. Vizcaya is a place that will be remembered for its extravagance, but it should also be remembered for its representation of the culture of Miami.

Margulies Collection as Text

Photo by Alfredo Bidopia/ CC by 4.0

“The Heart of Wynwood”

By Alfredo Bidopia of FIU at the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE, 16 April 2021.

Wynwood has become a representative side of the art in Miami. You can even appreciate murals when traveling up North in the I-95. This district attracts art lovers because of its unusual way of showcasing art, which ironically represents the city of Miami. Many cool places can be found at Wynwood, you just need to look for them. One place that surprised me recently was the Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE. If I was excited before going to this place, I was way happier when I find out our tour guide was going to be the collector itself, Martin Z. Margulies. A unique experience that I didn’t see coming. Mr. Margulies is a collector of contemporary art, but he first started collecting pictures. It was 1999 when he decided to find a place in Wynwood that he could show his extensive collection of pictures, videos, and sculptures. This place has grown over the years and currently it is over 50000 square feet. Inside the WAREhOUSE every piece has its space and something to tell. In his collection, we can find pieces from incredible artists like Michael Heizer, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, George Segal, Ernesto Neto, and many more. However, something that caught my attention is the incredible amount of pieces Mr. Margulies has from the artist Anselm Kiefer. There is a room dedicated only for this artist and his pieces. Mr. Margulies was so passionate when showing his collection that he explained every little detail behind each piece. The way he collects his pieces is admirable, he explained to the class he only collects pieces that he can connect with. This is a place more people should of, usually when we think about Wynwood what comes to mind are big murals, but there is much more. The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE it’s the heart of Wynwood, and it helps a good cause. Students enter for free and non-students pay a low fee that is directed to a foundation called Lotus House created to help homeless women and children.

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